The hopes of Nigeria having a medal at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics has been restored with the integrity unit of the IAAF reinstating 12 Nigerian athletes to the competition.
Tobi Amusan, Divine Oduduru, Nwokocha Grace, Patience Okon George, Enoch Adegoke, Imaobong Nse Uko, Itsekiri Usheoritee, Enekwechi Chuckwuebuka, Emmanuel Ojeli, Samson Nathaniel and Blessing Okagbare have all been given the green light to go and represent the West African nation at any Track and Field event billed for the Tokyo Olympics.
The athletics games begin on Friday and the Athletics Integrity Unit has cleared ten out of twelve to compete in the athletics event of the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Okagbare would be making her fourth appearance at the games with her competing in the women’s 100m heat on Friday.
Tobiloba Amusan who is ranked fourth in the 100m hurdles will also be looking forward to get a medal, the renowned long jumper Ese Brume tops the world list in her event and Grace Nwokocha who lives in Nigeria unlike her teammates clocked 11.09 seconds in March at the MOC Grand Prix in Lagos to secure her qualification for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
In the male aspect we’ve the trio of Divine Oduduru, Enoch Adegoke and Ushoritse Itshekiri who will be slugging it out in the men’s 100m.
Divine Oduduru will also compete in the 200m event and it’s worthy of note that he holds the national record of 19.73 seconds that he set in 2019 in Austin, Texas (USA) to win the NCAA gold.
Away from sprinting, we’ve Short putter Chukwuebuka Enekwechi who secured her qualification to this year’s finals at the World Athletics Championship in Doha, Qatar in 2019.
Imaobong Nse Uko, Patience Okon-George, Nataniel Samson and Ifeanyi Ojeli will be representing Nigeria in the 4×400 mixed relay as they’ve also been cleared to compete in the first semifinal heat.
The AFN Secretary-general, Prince Adeniyi Adisa Beyioku, has also confessed that the athletes are determined to return Nigeria back to the podium for the first time since Bejing 2008 when Okagbare and the women’s 4x100m won Nigeria’s last medals in athletics.
25 medals have been won by the country since the inception of the Olympics and 13 were won by an Athlete with two of the three gold medals.
IAAF struck Nigeria with it’s hammer on Wednesday as 10 athletes from Team Nigeria were banned from participating in the Games due to doping rules.
The athletics governing body said: “Despite significant improvements in the domestic testing programmes in countries categorised as being the highest doping risk to the sport under the World Athletics Anti-Doping Rules (Anti-Doping Rules), 18 athletes from the final entries for the Tokyo Olympic Games are not eligible to compete because the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 of the Anti-Doping Rules were not met by ‘Category A’ Federations. In addition, two athletes from Kenya were replaced by the National Federation prior to the submission of their entries to World Athletics.
Out of all nations involved, Nigeria is the most affected country with them not meeting the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 for 10 athletes.